Opposed Pad Gecko Adhesive Gripper for On-Off Omnidirectional Anchoring/Gripping in Orbit

Applications include satellite servicing and inspection of inflatable habitats. The idea of turning the stickiness of a material on and off is not an intuitive concept, yet this is exactly how geckos run up walls at speeds greater than 1 m/s and cling to ceilings made of glass. Transitioning this capability to spacecraft would constitute a major breakthrough because it would provide improved capabilities for multiple mission types.

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Complex Geometry Multi-Use Coatings for Abrasion Prevention, Wear Resistance, and Lunar Dust Removal

Two coatings are required to remove/repel lunar dust particles from the mechanism or surface that needs protection. One coating must be a conductor, and one must be a dielectric. Tungsten carbide (WC) and aluminum oxide (Al2O3) were found to be best suited as the conductor and dielectric, respectively.

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Improving Material Property Measurement Using Multi- Camera Digital Image Correlation

The automotive industry faces growing pressure for more efficient vehicles. This pressure comes from many sources including government regulations, decreasing natural resources, and consumer demand. As the pressure begins to rise, automakers have a growing need for better fuel, more efficient energy-generating processes, and lighter vehicles. In an effort to reduce the weight of their vehicles, automakers have shown an increasing interest in using aluminum, provided it can withstand the same deformations as steel.

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Mechanistic-Based Multiaxial- Stochastic-Strength Model for Transversely- Isotropic Brittle Materials

The methodology is applicable to a wide variety of graphite, coatings, and composite materials. A methodology has been developed and the software written to predict the probability of failure of transversely isotropic (a type of anisotropy) materials under generalized thermomechanical loading. This methodology is mechanistic in that it is based on the physical characteristics of brittle fracture, and morphological in that it considers the size, shape, and orientation distribution of strength controlling defects or flaws. On that basis, it can also account for a material’s failure modes and direction of damage initiation from loading. It is capable of predicting an anisotropic material’s probability of failure under transient and cyclic loading. This innovation can be applied to materials such as graphite, coatings, or the individual brittle constituents of composite materials.

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Bulk Metallic Glasses and Matrix Composites as Spacecraft Shielding

These materials offer combinations of high hardness, low melting temperature, low density, and formability like a plastic. Spacecraft shielding is defined as the outer layer of a satellite or spacecraft that protects it against micrometeorite and orbital debris (MMOD), radiation damage, and re-entry temperatures. There are several problems with the design and implementation of shields, particularly in the area of MMOD shielding. Spacecraft and satellites need to have the lowest possible mass due to the enormous cost per pound of putting them into orbit or deep space. However, low Earth orbit (LEO) is currently littered (and increasingly so) with orbital debris, primarily remnants of rocket upper stages, satellites, and pieces of spacecraft that have broken away or have collided with other objects. The major threat is that this debris is traveling at 8 to 18 km/s, and any piece larger than a few centimeters has the kinetic energy to potentially become a “spacecraft killer.” Large debris is tracked with radar, but the smaller debris (below a centimeter or so) is too small to track and must be mitigated by shields in the event of a collision. The International Space Station, for example, employs over 500 different shield designs into its outer skin, which are designed to protect a variety of vital components.

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Epoxies and Glass Transition Temperature

Gain a better understanding about glass transition temperature (Tg) and why it is one of many factors to consider for bonding, sealing, coating and encapsulation applications. In this paper, we explore how temperature impacts the performance of polymers, why glass transition temperature is significant, and how it is measured. Tg can be an extremely useful yardstick for determining the reliability of epoxies as it pertains to temperature.

Posted in: Materials, White Papers

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Bulk Metallic Glasses and Composites for Optical and Compliant Mechanisms

This innovation has uses in the aerospace, optics, bio-implants, spacecraft, and sporting equipment industries. Mechanisms are used widely in engineering applications due to their ability to translate force and movement. They are found in kinematic pairs, gears, cams, linkages, and in flexure mechanisms (also known as compliant mechanisms). Mechanisms and flexures are used widely in spacecraft design, especially in the area of optics, where precise positioning of telescope mirrors requires elastic flexing of elements. A compliant mechanism is generally defined as a flexible mechanism that uses an elastic body deformation to cause a displacement (such as positing a mirror). The mechanisms are usually constructed as a single monolithic piece of material, and contain thin struts to allow for large elastic bending with low input force. This creates the largest problem with developing precise mechanisms; they must be fabricated from a single piece of metal, but are required to have strict accuracy on their dimensions. They are generally required to have high strength, elasticity, and low coefficient of thermal expansion.

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